BAYADA Pediatrics Minneapolis Associate Director Frances Fernandez, was recently appointed as Chair of the Minnesota Home Care Association’s (MHCA) Workforce Task Force. BAYADA Pediatrics, a BAYADA Home Health Care specialty practice, provides nursing services at home and school for children from birth through adolescence.
MHCA is a professional trade association of 150 home care providers in Minnesota working to ensure that quality home care services continue to be accessible for residents who need it. The Workforce Task Force focuses on helping to feed the pipeline of qualified home care nurses to meet growing population demands and to stem a burgeoning nursing shortage in Minnesota.
MHCA Executive Director Kathy Messerli appointed Fernandez to lead the Workforce Task Force, thanks to her reputation as a passionate advocate and resourceful problem-solver committed to recruiting quality nurses into the profession of home health care.
“Home care was my first love after graduate school, and I’ve been working in it as an administrator for 20 years,” said Fernandez. “In home health care, nurses can make such a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Throughout my career, I’ve seen how home care can benefit people of all ages. In my role with BAYADA Pediatrics it’s been such a wonderful experience to help children with special needs lead quality lives with their families and in their schools and communities. After all, they just want to be kids!”
Fernandez proudly accepted the role as chair of the Workforce Task Force, citing her desire to help more nurses discover the joys of home health care, which will allow more people to receive care at home, where they want to be.“Once nurses start in home care, they feel the rewards and they stay," she said.
As the new chair of the seven-person MHCA Workforce Task Force, Fernandez is excited to be working with colleagues to plan a series of live webinars designed to educate local professors and nurse educators about the home health care profession.
“A traditional nurse education curriculum tends to focus more on work in the inpatient setting, but home health care is different, and it’s the future of health care. It’s where all the current trends toward population health and patient-centered care are headed,” Fernandez said. “We’re offering these webinars to make educators more aware and familiar with home health care as a career option—what it takes to be a home care nurse, and what the job responsibilities are—so they can better prepare their nursing students for those opportunities.”
According to Fernandez, people often are surprised just how high-tech home care nursing can be. “Today, we provide the same levels of high-quality rehabilitation, therapy, and complex care that used to only be available in a hospital, with better personalization and quality of life in the comfort of home,” she said. “Home health care gives nurses vast opportunity to train and specialize in all kinds of diagnoses and medical needs. And home care nurses get much more hands-on experience and autonomy to heal the whole person than they would in a facility.”
The Workforce Task Force expects to launch their new webinar series for nurse educators in Spring 2019.
When Fernandez is not volunteering for the MHCA, she’s also a volunteer leader of her church’s youth group and her daughters’ Girl Scout troop. Part of her job at BAYADA has involved a nurse recruitment effort called the Puerto Rico Project—an idea initiated by Fernandez to help nurses displaced by the devastation of Hurricane Maria to rebuild their lives and careers in Minnesota.
To learn more about home health care for a family member or to inquire about opportunities in nursing and rehabilitation, visit bayada.com.